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19 December 2019

Get a Grip: Tyre Tread Check

A worn tyre has poor grip. Less grip means poor handling, longer stopping distances and increased risk of losing control of the car in an emergency situation.

From new, tyre tread depth starts at around eight millimetres and wears down as you drive. The rate of wear depends on a lot of factors including tyre pressure, how and where you drive and the weight of the vehicle.

Worn tyres don’t just put you at risk of losing control of your car. Driving on excessively worn tyres is illegal and can mean a defective vehicle fine.

To check your tyre tread, turn your steering wheel all the way in one direction. This will make the front tyre tread easier to see. Bend down and take a look.

Between the blocks of tread, most tyres have a ‘treadwear indicator’. These are small bars of rubber in the grooves that demonstrate if a tyre is in need of replacement. If the tread wears down to be in line with the indicator, the tyre needs to be replaced.

In case your tyres don’t have the indicator, or you can’t spot it, grab a 5c coin. With the echidna facing out, head down, place the coin in the groove. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm. If your tyres are legal, the coin should be hidden down to just above the spikes on the echidna’s head.

1.6mm is enough to be legal, but at anything under 3mm, you are taking a risk with your vehicle’s grip and stability.

Remember, every tyre on your car wears differently depending on your driving style, location and whether your wheels are correctly aligned. Even if the outside of the tyre has near new grip, it’s possible that the inside is almost bare. If you can, check each tyre individually.

If you have any concerns whatsoever about the condition of your tyre, or to arrange a replacement, contact your vehicle’s local dealer for advice, assistance or a tyre change appointment.

IMPORTANT: If you are unsure, always head directly to your local vehicle dealer to have your car checked. Never get on the road if you have even a small concern about whether or not your vehicle is safe.

This is general information only. Every vehicle is different and all drivers are responsible for their own vehicles. Always consult your vehicle’s manual and contact your local dealer for advice.

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